Houston’s blend of international appeal and old-school Southern charm makes it one of the world’s most interesting places. Here is a list of mind-boggling facts about Houston that will leave you awestruck: -
53 Engrossing Facts About Houston
A. General Facts About Houston1. More than 2.3 million people live in Houston. It is the 4th most populous US city behind New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
2. Over 145 languages are spoken in Houston. Apart from prevalent Spanish and English, you would hear German, Vietnamese, Hindi, Chinese, Urdu, Arabic, Welsh and Tagalog.
3. Houstonians are a cultured bunch. More than 61% of its residents over the age of 25 hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
4. It is the second fastest-growing US city, behind New York. This is owed to thriving medicine, engineering, oil, gas and aeronautic industries.
5. Even though Houston has a tropical climate, the city is not all about Texan sunshine. Houston gets more rain than Seattle with an average of 49 inches per year. This is why many waterways and bayous meander through Houston.
6. Bayou City, Space City, Hustle Town and the City With No Limits are all nicknames for Houston.
B. Historical Facts About Houston7. On August 30, 1836, Augustus C. and John K. Allen founded Houston. They paid only USD 1.40 per acre for the 6,642 acres of land they bought near today’s Buffalo Bayou.
8. The city is named after Sam Houston, a military commander and politician who led Texas’ battle of independence from Mexico. He was the first president of the Texas republic.
9. In 1837, a small steamship named Laura was the first ship to sail into Houston. It came from Harrisburg and the 12-mile voyage took 3 days.
10. “Houston” was the first word heard on the moon. Neil Armstrong’s first words to Apollo 11 Mission Control from the lunar surface were “Houston, Tranquility Base here”.
11. Glenn McCarthy is the quintessential oilman and tycoon who became one of the richest Americans after the Texas Oil Boom. in 1949, he built the Shamrock Hotel Houston with USD 21 million.
12. In 1891, Houston became the first city with electric streetcars.
13. The first city park in Houston, now Sam Houston Park, was opened in 1899. The site still has majestic old buildings from that era.
Architecture and Industry Facts About Houston14. Houston is the largest American city without formal zoning laws. Building codes are regulated by local ordinances.
15. Houston has an underground tunnel network for pedestrians, 20 feet below the ground and joining 95 blocks of major buildings, retail stores and restaurants in Houston. It was originally built to connect 3 downtown movie theaters.
16. The Texas Medical Center located in Houston exceeds 1,344 acres and 7.2 million visits per year. It is the largest medical facility in the world.
17. Houston is home to the world’s first multipurpose domed stadium. Opened in 1965, The NRG Astrodome served as a venue for the Houston Astros. It is currently not in use.
18. The first and largest traditional temple of the US was built in Houston. The Hindu temple BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir was built in 28 months with Italian marble and turkish limestone.
19. The iconic 5-sided J.P. Morgan Chase Tower in Houston is the world’s tallest pentagonal building with 75 floors over 1,002 feet.
20. The Houston Galleria Shopping Mall is the largest of its kind in Texas and the 9th largest in the US. Established in 1970, it houses 375 lavish stores over 4 floors.
21. Designed for flood control, the Addicks and Barker Reservoir offers 26,000 acres of land for storage and water runoffs.
C. Geographical and Environmental Facts About Houston22. Sprawled over 655 square miles, Houston could fit New York, Miami, Washington, Seattle, Boston, Minneapolis and San Francisco.
23. There are more than 6,000 animals of 900 species at the Houston Zoo. It is the second most visited zoo in North America.
24. Buffalo Bayou is the principal river of Houston, stretched over 53 miles with large tributaries like White Oak Bayou, Brays Bayou and Greens Bayou.
25. 125 feet is the highest elevation in Houston, located in the northwestern part of the city. The average elevation in downtown areas is 50 feet.
26. The Houston Audubon Society has archived and counted over 400 bird species in the city.
27. Cullen Park, George Bush Park, Lake Houston Wilderness Park and Bear Creek Pioneers Park in Houston are among the 50 largest US parks.
28. Houston BCycle is a non-profit bike share and environmental conservation program, offering bicycles for rent at over 109 bike stations with almost 800 bikes in circulation.
D. Gastronomical Facts About Houston29. Houston is home to more than 10,000 restaurants, offering an array of cuisines from 70 global countries and American regions.
30. Tamales, breakfast tacos, pho and Viet-Cajun crawfish are the most eaten restaurant food items in Houston.
31. Houstonians eat out more often per week - 6.9 times - than any other American city.
32. Situated on Malone Street, Beer Can House is literally a house covered with over 50,000 beer cans. Built in 1968 by a railroad worker, the structure now signifies folk culture.
33. Houston has the largest number of food trucks in the US, inspiring many other cities to adopt “grab-on-the-go” culture.
34. It is forbidden to sell the infamously pungent Limburger cheese on Sundays due to an old law, so remember to stock up early.
E. Facts About Houston’s Education and Arts35. Houston has over 500 public institutions teaching performing and visual arts, technology, science and history.
36. Houston Museum District is a treasure chest of 19 museums attracting 8 million visitors per year. The National Museum of Funeral History, Bayou Bend and Art Car Museum are Houston’s top 3 museums.
37. Nanotechnology was first developed at the Houston Rice University. It is also a tier-1 research institute in Texas.
38. There are 100 trade and business schools and 60 degree-offering colleges in Houston, including 14 major US institutes for higher learning.
39. Houston’s Home Theater District houses 9 internationally recognized performing arts organizations within a 17 block region, making the country’s concentration the highest.
F. Sports and Entertainment Facts About Houston40. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the world’s biggest rodeo with month-long events and 2.5 million attendees every year. It includes live performances, carnivals, games and food courts.
41. There are 198 golf courses in Houston within a 50-mile downtown radius.
42. Owing to the immensely diverse terrain, Houston has been the filming location for hundreds of Hollywood blockbusters. Robocop 2, Space Cowboys, Armageddon, Apollo 13, Tree of Life, Boyhood and Evening Star were filmed across Houston.
43. The Houston Marathon boasts of over 13,000 participants each year.
44. The largest concert held in the city was Rendez-Vous Houston on April 5, 1986, a live performance by Jean Michel Jarre and many more to commemorate Houston’s 150th and NASA’s 25th birthdays.
G. Facts About Economy of Houston45. Houston would rank as the world’s 26th richest economy, if the city were its own country. That is more than Iran and Thailand’s Gross Domestic Product.
46. Academy Sports & Outdoors, Lowe’s, CVS Health, H-E-B, Fiesta Mart, Kroger, Home Depot, Lewis Food Town, Sysco, Macy's, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Target and Walgreens are the top employers in Houston.
47. The average daily wage in the Houston metro region is USD 1,315.
48. Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport gates over 40 million passengers annually. It is the world’s 28th busiest airport.
49. The most expensive home in Houston is spread over 2 acres and has 12,000 square feet of living space. It is located on Longfellow Lane in Rice District and is listed for sale at USD 16,500,000.
50. Houston is the operations base for the international oil and gas exploration, production industry, and some of the nation’s largest global engineering and construction firms.
More Fun Facts About Houston51. More than 1 in every 4 Houstonians were born outside the US.
52. Houston’s timezone falls along the Central North american time.
53. Houston has the 5th tallest skyline, behind New York, Chicago, Toronto and Miami in North America.
As GQ magazine deemed in 2018, everyone agrees that Houston is the “New Capital of Southern Cool”. Do you know any more startling facts about Houston? Let us know in the comments below.